FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter was the guest of honour at the sixth Ali della Vittoria (Wings of Victory) awards ceremony, organised by the Lega Nazionale Dilettanti, Italy’s national amateur league, at Rome’s Auditorium Parco della Musica on Monday 23 April. Also present was UEFA President Michel Platini.

The ceremony is an occasion for Italy’s footballing authorities, associations, media and supporters to come together and celebrate the game. Among those stepping up to collect awards were Damiano Tommasi, the president of the Italian Footballers’ Association, national U-21 team coach Ciro Ferrara, and current Inter Milan boss Andrea Stramaccioni, who was recognised for his sterling work in nurturing young players.

Taking the opportunity to reflect on the tragic death of 25-year-old Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini in a Serie B game on 14 April, Blatter said: “I feel very sad. I felt the same way in 2003 when Cameroon’s Marc-Vivien Foe died in Lyon in similar circumstances (during a FIFA Confederations Cup match).”

As he had already done on Twitter, Blatter also offered his personal congratulations to Alessandro del Piero for chalking up 700 appearances in the Juventus shirt, describing the evergreen forward as “an exceptional champion and an extraordinary professional.”